Year Two of Being a Republican at Kenyon College

Last year I wrote an article on being a Republican at Kenyon. Following the publishing of my article, I felt that my the eyes of my peers were opened to what it was like to be me, a female Republican here in Gambier. However, with this new year came a reversal of any progress that I felt my article had made, so here I am. In my second article, which addresses the continuation of attitudes that I find to be detrimental to the continuation of political discourse. This is my plea for those of you on this campus and my friends to open your eyes and truly be as open-minded as you claim to be with every other organization and group.

One of the most difficult things that I have had to come to terms with is that there are some across the aisle on this campus that do not value discourse. They may claim that they do, however, they value making blanket statements and generalizations on the Republican party as a whole, yet forget the individual. It is important that we all on this campus look at political parties’ policy stance as a whole. Let me be very clear here, that I do not agree with everything that the Republican party does, however, their stance on fiscal policy and our military, are two things I cannot overlook. For me, these are the most crucial issues that our nation faces. Just because my party does not, in your opinion, go far enough in combating issues minorities face. Does not mean that I do not also feel the same way as you, so please do not allow for others to paint me as one who is not sensitive to problems that various racial groups have, simply because I support a party who may have a specific political stance that does not go far enough for you. I will be the first to defend any of you against any injustice you may be facing in this nation, so let’s not make generalizations and instead look at the issue as a whole. We are all educated people and our democracy is at stake when you are name calling, and your only justification for implying that I am not race-sensitive is because the party that I support does not address things in the way you would like. Nothing will ever get accomplished if you isolate another group and invalidate their opinions, rather than work together through political discourse.

Even some of my friends on campus are guilty of this: they are so invested in the hostile political climate that our nation is currently in that they feel no sympathy or remorse in blatantly attacking my character. Instead, they get their justification from others, because those other people do not stand up and say that this is detrimental to our community as a whole. Instead they perpetuate the single issue which I feel this country is facing which is the blame game. Truly take the time to let this sink in. Many of the people who I interact with on a daily basis have no problem attacking my character, because the culture here at Kenyon and in America at large says it’s okay. Therefore, discourse never happens.

Rather than having discourse occur on this campus we either run into the problem previously stated or instead many on this campus believe that commenting on something someone shared on Facebook is discourse occurring. If I simply share something on Facebook, in no way did I ask your opinion on what I posted, because that’s just it. It’s something I like and have posted on my page. If you want to discuss politics with me then ask to grab coffee with me, rather than your justification being that because I re-posted something political your automatically entitled to strike up a political conversation. If you really want to make a difference in politics then get off your keyboard and ask about the way that I feel, without name calling and playing the blame game. You are accomplishing nothing by commenting on a political picture that simply makes a statement. It’s simply a waste of time, and progress. Additionally, it goes to my point that even those closest to me or who are in organizations with me, are frequently the ones who do this, because the culture around here dissociates any bonds between people and instead targets the Republican as the common enemy.

I know that many of you will take this with a grain of salt and continue to partake in the behavior that this campus reinforces, because it’s easy to be the oppressor when there are far less who are oppressed. You have the upper hand, and a media that favors a hostile political climate, so many of you do not think twice about your actions. I have witnessed firsthand my friends who are liberal being excluded from organizations on this campus because they were not “progressive enough”. The goal on this campus should not be to make the Republican nor moderate liberals the scapegoat. I hope that you take the time to truly let this resonate, before just commenting how something I said in this article because it isn’t sensitive enough for you or does not address every single belief of yours.


Image Credit: Feature, 1, 2